Why the MDGs will not be achieved

By Dr. Shelly Rodrigo, PhD
September 27, 2011

In the last post on rainwater I touched on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for water. In a recent news article on the BBC News online, it stated that the MDGs for health will not be met by 2015 and only nine of the 137 developing countries will achieve this goal. What is not recognized in the article is the relationship between these MDGs and other goals such as those for water. To remind you and for those who did not see the previous article, the MDGs for water are:

  • to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015;
  • to stop unsustainable exploitation of water resources;
  • to develop integrated water resource management and water efficiency plans; and
  • to halve the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation.

If these objectives are not achieved they will negatively impact on the health of the population.

In many parts of the world, especially in the developing world, access to a safe drinking water supply is limited. Alternative supplies may be unsafe or of poor quality and consequently health is affected. As a result there may be less than ideal sanitary conditions existing within communities. Poor sanitation for pregnant women and babies mean that there is the potential for disease and hence complications during birth that would have an impact on morbidity and mortality of these groups;  the two MDGs mentioned in the article.

We must therefore address the MDGs as a collective whole rather than discrete parts if there is to be substantial progress before 2015 or even 2040 as mentioned in the BBC article.

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